Our children need champions from all walks of life – in their families, neighborhoods, schools and in their communities. Check out Big Campeones from all over the country as they share personal stories on the role of mentorship in their lives and the need for Latinos to volunteer as Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
The Power of Mentoring
This Hispanic Heritage Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters is honored to introduce you to some Hispanic champions of mentoring or “Big Campeones.” Today, we say hello to Michael Centeno, Vice President of Transamerica. Michael grew up in Huntington Park, California and was surrounded by the love and support of his family and mentors. His godfather, Paul, is credited as his most important mentor, who encouraged him to pursue higher education.
“Paul left us too soon, but he left behind his spirit to move forward and help those less fortunate,” Michael said.
Michael continues to honor his late mentor by giving back to his community as a Big Brother, board member and corporate partner for Big Brothers Big Sisters, but unfortunately Michael is a rarity. More Hispanic male mentors are desperately needed. Tens of thousands of Hispanic boys are waiting for a Big Brother. Michael gives his time, guidance and expertise to his Little Brother Miguel, but he is also raising three kids of his own. He has watched Miguel grow from a shy young boy into a man over the course of their match, which has thrived for more than 10 years. They have experienced many things together and have worked through their own set of difficulties, all of which have brought them closer than ever before.
“Life is tough today and time is precious, but you can make a difference by becoming a Big,” said Michael. So far this year, Hispanic children represent almost 22% of the children Big Brothers Big Sisters served, but only around 9% of our volunteers are Hispanic. Visit LatinoBigs.org to find out more about the importance of being a mentor and to volunteer to be a Big.